Monday, October 11, 2010

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Mary does it again. For those who haven’t read her previous works like Stiff and Bonk, Mary Roach typically writes a great amount of detail about a subject (and adjacent topics) while providing a presentation that is both interesting and amusing. Packing for Mars, the examination of the history and future of space exploration is no exception. We get some of the politics of the space race, how animals were used, what micro-gravity is like, and just how difficult it is for people in space. Alternatively, those seeking more information about physics and new technologies instead of an emphasis on the human factors (especially on going to the bathroom in space) might be disappointed.
Personally, it was useful to learn more about the pre-moon missions and the Russian competition, as well as how bloody complicated everything is in space. Finally, it was also neat to think about a time before we knew so much (i.e., scientists weren’t sure if your organs would work the same way if there was no gravity).


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